Public servant convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA), 1988
- Recently, the Supreme Court has said that public servants can be convicted in bribery cases on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
- The Supreme Court in its judgment has held that direct evidence/proof of demand or acceptance of bribe is not necessary to convict a public servant under the Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA), 1988.
- They can be convicted on the basis of circumstantial evidence.
- The Supreme Court has held that courts are permitted to draw inferential inferences of guilt of a public servant under Section 7 and Section 13 of POCA.
- Section 7 provides for punishment for receiving any gratification (bribe etc.) by a public servant other than legal remuneration.
- Section 13 defines criminal misconduct of a public servant.
Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988
- The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 is a central law passed by the Parliament of India.
- It has been created with the aim of reducing corruption in government machinery and public sector undertakings.
- It was introduced in the Parliament in 2013 for amendment, but due to lack of consensus, it was sent to the Standing Committee and the Select Committee. Along with this, it was also sent to the Law Commission for review.
- The committee submitted its report in 2016, after which it was brought back to Parliament in 2017 and POCA was amended in 2018 to bring it in line with the United Nations Anti-Corruption Convention (UNCAC).
Features of Prevention of Corruption Act (POCA)
- Bribery is considered as ‘undue advantage’. It is defined as gratification other than legal remuneration.
- Giving a bribe is an offence, except when someone is compelled to pay the bribe. However, its information will have to be given within seven days.
- The trial in cases of bribery and corruption should be completed within two years by the special judge. In case of delay, the reasons for the same should be recorded.
- Also, the total time taken for disposal of the case should not exceed four years. In case of delay, the reasons for the same should be recorded.
- Also, the total time taken for disposal of the case should not exceed four years.
Source – The Hindu